Top positive review
9 people found this helpful
If you are a silent movie collector grab this one
on July 20, 2013
This film is one of the most difficult of the key silent films of the 1920's to locate, and due to the originals excessive length (reported to be 47 reels long more than 7 hours) one that has almost always been seen in abridged form. Evidently it was only shown in complete form once. This version is an abridged 120 minute clip which does a fair job at capturing the flavor of the original; although considering that over five hours of the original are missing there are holes in the story. That said, no matter how good it was reputed to be, I can't possibly imagine sitting through a seven plus hour silent movie. I suspect the MGM Executives were more than a little justified in cutting something.
The Bad: I gave this version 4 stars because it does not contain all of the known footage for this movie. There is reportedly one version out there which incorporates about four hours of the movie and every known scrap of footage in an attempt to recreate the original. Also this does not contain any of the original tints; in the age of the computer this isn't as difficult as one might suppose. The audiences of the 1920's were said to have seen a richly tinted movie. Since this is often said to be the greatest silent movie ever made, someone should have put in the effort, rather than recycling the same old material. That the complete version has been long been considered to be lost does not mean that a company producing a "Collector's Edition" shouldn't try.
The Good. This movie is just plain hard to find. When one ignores the fact that this is an abridged copy the story is good, the film is generally clear and sharp, with little or none of the nitrate degradation or burning common in early film stock. The sound track is appropriate to the film. Music is the key to any silent film and the score is spot on. This one is orchestral, I tend to prefer organ scores; however, the tempo of the music follows the action and one is as historically correct as the other. This Spanish disc is advertised as region 2; however once I got the package I noticed a small square on the back which reads "zona 0" or region 0. This disc is designed to be played anywhere. Or at least on any machine which accepts the PAL format. I own a multiregion DVD player, however, odds are if you own a quality DVD Player yours will too. Check the specifications for your machine. Playstations and Xboxes won't play PAL, at least mine don't seem to.
The movie itself is not recommended for someone just starting to view silent films, it is a good movie but silent dramas haven't aged as well as the comedies. Spanish subtitles were not a problem, they did not even come up on my machine; all of the intertitles were in English, so there was no language barrier